Media Center

Press Release


  November 19, 2003

A study conducted by the Inter-American Children’s Institute has concluded that every year, more than 200,000 children go unregistered in Central America, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Panama.

“And this points to a very serious problem in terms of the reality of children, from a rights standpoint,” the Institute’s Director General, Alejandro Bonasso, told the Organization of American States (OAS) Permanent Council today. The revelation came as Bonasso delivered the report of the Uruguay-based OAS specialized agency, corresponding to the period June 2002 to November 2003.

Other highlights of the report include an enhanced involvement by the Institute in the inter-American system; an active participation in subregional, regional and international fora; and an online database that includes comparative child-related legislation in member countries, as well as work on such pressing issues as child labor, sexual exploitation of children, drug abuse, disability and the street children phenomenon.

Bonasso also pledged to continue efforts to boost the Institute’s operations in the English-speaking Caribbean countries, and reiterated the Institute’s commitment to remaining active on the front line of issues pertaining to children.

The Inter-American Children’s Institute on Tuesday concluded a two-day extraordinary meeting of its Directing Council, under the chairmanship of Carmen Berges de Amaro. The meeting was also held at OAS Headquarters.

In his remarks at the closing session of the extraordinary meeting, OAS Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi hailed the Institute’s progress towards implementing its inter-American program for cooperation to prevent and deal with the international abduction of children by one of their parents, as well as its model law on the subject. He made particular mention of IACI’s initiatives that have helped track down Central American children who had illegally emigrated and repatriated and returned them to their families.

Einaudi applauded Director General Bonasso’s leadership, and noted the Institute’s well-placed focus on reorganization and its moves to raise funds outside the OAS.

The two-day Directing Council meeting also considered preparations for the upcoming Nineteenth Pan American Child Congress, slated for Mexico next year.

Reference: E-225/03